Hi everyone- I’ve just emerged from another examination hibernation, having got back from Stockholm, Dublin and London in July. Having been contracting for the last 6months, I needed to take on a regular position, and one came up in Melbourne. I visit Melbourne a few times a year, and I love it, so I took it. It all happened really quickly, as I had my exam in 6 weeks time.
I finished my intensive care job in February, and during one contract in rural New South Wales, I was sharing a house with another african doctor. He was from Zambia, and I told him I was nigerian. He told me that his boss was nigerian, and that he could get me a job at their hospital in Melbourne. As you know, I’ve been in Sydney of five years, but I thought that Melbourne would be a nice change. And so the house-hunting begins…..
As you also know, I can’t stand moving house, but I thought this Melbourne adventure would be worth the hassle. Without my asking, the hospital paid for a hotel for me my first week, which was nice of them. I had that time to find a place to live, so was doing viewings while not at work. St Kilda is a popular area, quite trendy [and I think they film Neighbours there], so that’s where I thought I’d look. I said it was a trendy ares, right? However, for some reason, everywhere I looked was just awful. I had one agent showing me around, saying “It’s a great place, right?” I looked on and thought “are you honestly telling me that this place with cracked ceilings, stained carpets and 19th century plumbing is a great place???”
It gets better.
When you go to see a place, there are certain questions that, if you need to ask, you’re probably not going to move into that place. In the case of one particular property, when one of the current occupants opened the door, that question was : “What the Hell is that smell?????”. However, I felt morally obliged to do the polite walk around. In doing so, I saw that 2 of the 3 bedrooms were crammed with as many bunkbeds as could physically fit, and the place was overrun with scruffy guys with shaggy beards. I worked out that the smell was sweat and weed. Basically, if you could imagine that Bill and Ted ran a youth hostel, never cleaned it and handed out free weed everyday, this is what I’d imagine it would look like.
At the end of it, the guy asked me, really optimistically, “So you think you’ll move in?”.
I drew a breath.
I held it.
“The location is perfect!” I replied. “I’ve still got a few other places to look at, but it’s definitely on the list”
[I didn’t say what list].
It gets better.
I had a viewing one morning, and I as a couple of minutes late. I pulled up outside the house, and there was a woman waiting there. I wind down my window.
“Sorry I’m late, my name is Victor.”
She walked up to my car and smiled, and said: “Are you looking for a girl…?”
“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OOOOOHHHHHHH MMMMMMYYYYYYY GGGGGOOOOOODDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I just sped off.
That was it- I wasn’t looking in St Kilda anymore. I took to a neighbouring suburb, and saw an apartment that was a little expensive, but I thought ‘You know what…? It’s clean, it’s new, the guys here aren’t crazy, you have your own car park…- just take it. I don’t care anymore- just take it.”
And it’s working out fine.
You know- I’ve often thought about this: when you look for life partner [which I’m still doing, by the way], you can filter through thousands of prospects, whittling the numbers down to a few taking upto years to get to know those few before making a final decision on which one you’ll commit to. When you’re choosing housemates and houses, however, you take a look for a couple of minutes, have a brief chat and then say “OK sure, let’s live together and you can potentially have access to all my stuff”.
It sounds crazy, but that’s what we do. And crazily enough, it usually works out fine.
[Until you find the stash of drugs and midget porn under the stairs.]
That’s yet to happen.
I’ve been studying constantly for the last few months since I arrived, and so I haven’t really experienced much of Melbourne in that time, but it’s a cool place with the most vibrant music scene in the country.
Watch this space….